Funeral mass was Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Varina. Burial was in St. Columbkille Cemetery in Varina with Full Military Rites by the W.D. Steiner American Post #588 of Varina. Mahaney Funeral Home in Fonda was in charge of the arrangements.
Ray was born Jan. 26, 1922 in Albert City, the son of Emmanuel and Mary (Hock) Gehrig. He grew up in Varina, and attended the Dover township country school and received his religious education at St. Columbkille Catholic school in Varina.
Ray joined the Army in 1942 and received his basic training in San Diego, Calif. He was stationed in Hawaii and later overseas in Guam and the Phillipines during World War II. This was a memorable time for him in his life and he really enjoyed sharing many of his war stories with his family.
He returned to the Varina area after receiving an honorable discharge from the Army in 1945. Ray married Norma Peterson at St. Columbkille Church in Varina on Nov. 22, 1948. They celebrated their 60 wedding anniversary in 2008.
Ray worked as a welder for several manufacturing companies in Laurens, before opening a tavern in Varina. He retired in 1982 and kept himself busy with gardening and yard work during the summer months. He was an avid Iowa Hawkeye and Cleveland Indians fan and enjoyed following both teams. He was a member of St. Columbkille Church all of his life and also belonged to the American Legion Post in Varina.
He is survived by his wife Norma of Varina; his children Cathy (Don) Hodgins of Sioux City; Karen (Phil) Neppl of Dakota City, Neb.; Janet (Roger) Schoon of Rockwell City; Richard (Pam) Gehrig of Fonda; and Ron (Mindy) Gehrig of Fonda. He is survived by many grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings and more recently by his son Robert in 2009.
Ray was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He filled our lives with an immense amount of humor and laughter. He will be missed tremendously!
The family would like to thank Dr. Bacon and Dr. Johnson, and the many nurses at the Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City for the loving care they gave Ray during his illness.